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#BreakTheSilence on Rape Culture

Smita Sharma was molested by a professor and then, her cousin committed suicide after facing abuse. Today, this photojournalist traverses...

domenica 23 ottobre 2016

Music promoter jailed for raping two teenage girls

A wealthy music promoter who worked with the Beatles, Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton has been jailed for 15 years for raping two teenage girls.


One of his victims was just 15-years-old when Mervyn Conn, now 82, drove her back to his house in his Rolls Royce before raping her in 1976, Kingston Crown Court was told.

After bragging about the Beatles, Conn offered her a lift home but instead took her to his own house and raped her on his bed next to a photo of him and his wife.

Shocked jurors heard that the girl felt like she had been treated 'like a rag doll.'

Another teenager, aged 16 in 1985, was promised tickets to a country music concert but when she went to pick them up from his office Conn raped her.

Conn was convicted of two rapes and and an indecent assault on the girls.

And it can now be revealed that the serial sex attacker who introduced Johnny Cash to the UK was jailed for two months around the time of the second rape after admitting indecently assaulting his receptionist.

Today he was jailed for a year for indecent assault with a consecutive seven-and-a-half-years and another consecutive six-and-a-half years for each rape.

Mark Milliken-Smith QC, prosecuting, told Kingston Crown Court father-of-four Conn was well-known for promoting star-studded country and western concerts at Wembley Arena and Earl's Court.

But he said: 'He used his position, and the power that came with it, to abuse young girls who should have been able to trust him, but each of whom, in different ways, suffered at his hands.'

The 15-year-old was employed by Conn at one of his festivals when she was subjected to multiple sex attacks in 1976, the court heard.

After working the International Country and Western Festival, the teen would be called into Conn's office in Charing Cross, central London, by telegram at a precise time - where he would perform degrading sex acts on her.

Mr Milliken-Smith said: 'This was one the most disgusting, humiliating things she can ever recall, and is something that she simply couldn't have invented.'

Conn, dressed in a blue suit, sat in the dock with his eyes shut tightly as the court heard harrowing details of the alleged sexual abuse.

On another occasion where the same girl had gone to Conn's office, he offered her a lift home in his Rolls Royce, but instead took her to his house where he raped her after bragging about the Beatles.

Mr Milliken-Smith said: 'She described feeling like a rag doll, feeling out of her body, "dumb struck" and "holding back tears."'

Nine years later in 1985 Conn, then aged 51, raped a 16-year-old girl at his London office, the court heard.

Conn had met hers in a grocers in Southfields, south-west London, and left his number, promising concert tickets if she gave him a call.

When she went to collect the 'tickets' she was raped without a condom but Conn would still visit her at her Saturday job and tell her to come to his office.

Mr Milliken-Smith said: 'She felt she had no choice, that she couldn't say no. He of course was 51, she 16, he a famous and powerful man.

'He had effectively tricked this young 16 year old girl into coming to his office under the guise of obtaining free tickets for a concert.

'He forced himself upon her, fully aware that she was not consenting, utterly unconcerned with her age and the impact which his actions had upon her there and then, nor for any concern for the long term effects his conduct would have.

'He thought only of his own sexual gratification.

'She had made it absolutely plain to him that she did not consent and he knew that full well - he couldn't have cared less.'

When questioned by police, Conn made no comment about the 16 year old, but admitted kissing the 15 year old after she had asked for Johnny Cash tickets.

Conn had hired her to dress as a 'cowgirl' at a Country and Western music festival he promoted at Wembley Arena in the 1970s.

Conn name-dropped The Fab Four and Crystal Gayle to the schoolgirl before forcing himself on her.

He is accused of flaunting his Rolls Royce and expensive home to show how he 'could control, manipulate and do anything he wanted.'

The victim, now 56, broke down in tears and became extremely distressed as she recalled the abuse by Conn and said she gave her age when he hired so so he knew she was only 15.

She said: 'He was talking about all these people he's promoted like he's the big 'I am.

'He told me stuff about people how he owned the rights to The Beatles songs.. He said a person wasn't alive because of a scratch on his Rolls Royce.'

When she arrived at his house she said: 'I hated it. It was like he was showing off his castle. I remember thinking it looked expensive but not classy - tacky.'

Conn took the teen to his double bedroom where there was a photograph of him and his wife and she said she asked him when he was going to take her home.

But he ordered her lie on his bed in a 'star shape'. and raped her.

The victim said: 'I didn't do anything to encourage him, I just completely numbed out.

'I felt like I was out of my body, like feeling struck dumb and I couldn't speak. I couldn't accept what was happening to me.' 

'He was a dominating person, very egotistical. He had this bouffant hair, smelt like cigars, looked almost like he was in the Mafia.

'He just showed how powerful he was and how he could control and manipulate and do whatever he wanted.

'I had counselling when I was 26 and have had flashbacks and nightmares since.'

Conn was cleared of two counts of indecent assault and one count of assault with intent to commit buggery against three women.

Detective Constable Ashley Lees who led the investigation said: 'I am very pleased with the outcome of the trial.



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